Leaving Nox was probably the hardest thing I had to do. His confession was rattling my head, all I wanted to was to protect him. And whatever the fuck this thing was had to go. He took it all with ease, like it was no big deal. It bothered the fuck out of me.
The walk to the main house was longer than I remembered. Kish was sitting in her rocker outside. “Hey Little Z.”
“I can’t believe Karma told Nox I used to sleep all the time. I hate that nick name, but I think he likes it.”
“So tell him you don’t like it.”
“I need a cup of coffee.”
Kish followed me inside. “Did he go for it?” she asked.
“He’s being all brave. One more nightmare, for a life of freedom.” I laughed nervously. Nox had added more than that to his words but I didn’t need to tell that to Kish.
“And that’s the problem is in’t?” she observed.
“He told me, in order to get the dream to come faster he has to think of me. That thinking of me hurt him.” I stomped the coffee into the filter and started brewing a new pot. “He’s fucking letting his demon’s attack him, because I asked him to on the barest thinnest of hopes I can see this thing and kill it. On. Hope,” I growled. “He’s putting all his hope on me.”
Kish put her arm protectively around my shoulders as I waited for coffee. “Oh Z you know that it comes every night regardless right? He believes in you, he’s an optimist, how ever did you end up with a Venatori boy? Of all the men in this world, your soul mate had to be him.”
She was right, but he was who he had always been. I shouldn’t have been so naive, he was always so obvious about it, but I couldn’t see it, blinded by the completeness of everything. And now he was putting his faith in me. Even after I ran away, even after I told him I was spying on him, paid to do so by someone. And he never asked their name. He fucking never asked anything. Nothing.
I was making myself angry. But I wasn’t angry with the pretty boy trying to sleep in my childhood bed. I was angry with myself. “Fuck Kish, if I told you he drove me crazy in the worst and best ways would you be angry with me?”
“No, I could never be mad with you Alex. And I can tell you love him. And he loves you.” I have Kish a quick hug, poured a cup of coffee and moved to get back to my pretty boy. As crazy as he made me, I didn’t want to leave him long.
“I need to get back to him.” Kish nodded.
I walked back a little faster than I had left. I felt guilty enough staying too long. The air was getting colder. The sun had set and the mountain air was always colder than the cities below. I wanted to go inside but I didn’t want to wake him. I was a fucking mess. I pushed the door open.
And there it was sitting on his chest. A thing of black. I dropped my coffee mug and it shattered on the floor. It startled me, my reaction wasn’t expected. It turned and hissed at me with glowing red eyes. “Mine!” it growled. Its back feet were dug into his chest. There was nothing but trial and error so I did the one thing the book said to do. I grabbed the blue tube of salt and I poured a pile in my hand and threw it at the thing.
It screeched as the salt landed on it. At least that worked. There was an iron pick used to stock the fire and I had it in hand. Iron and salt it said. I should have consulted with Nox about this, see what he thought about the plan. He trusted me. I had to do this right.
I threw another handful of salt at it and it lunged for me as I poked it with a stick. I wondered if fire might help. But it didn’t matter, it squealed and dodge my attack. I wished I was better at this.
The door to the room burst open and Kish and Kay were standing in the door way. They were chanting something. I didn’t wait to figure it out. This hadn’t been part of my plan, but it was working. I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I threw another handful of salt and stabbed into the ink black flesh and it howled. Blood flowed from underneath Nox and he cried out in pain, sitting up, the bedding was bloody. Nox was covered in blood I wasn’t sure if it was his or the things.
The thing was howling in pain but it turned to on the skewer and pushed its body closer to me howling. It slashed at me with three inch claws. It caught my hand and I jerked away in pain. I didn’t remember making a sound, but I must have for Nox’s eyes to snap to me as I tumbled backwards the black thing launching itself at me. All four feet with three inch claws were pointed at me and I tried to scrabble backwards away from it as it flew at me like the black blur that whisked Nox away every night as a boy.
There was fire, and screaming and I don’t know if it was me or the thing about to land on top of me.
It floated and burned but never landed. And then I saw – really saw. Kish and Kay had fallen silent. Nox was kneeling on the edge of the bed his hand was out stretched and he was calm. Ever so calm. And there between us was the black thing, the blur. It screamed. It burned. The room smelled like burning hair and sulphur and all the worse things in the world all put together. It floated in nothing and it collapsed in on itself, still burning, screaming until there was a small pop and the thing fell silent.
And then Nox collapsed and fell off the edge of the bed and crumpled on the floor.